STOP THE PRESSES! Donnie Avery out 4-6 weeks.

This nightmare headline just showed up: Donnie Avery injured, out 4-6 weeks. Looking for substantiation…

Updated source: Bill Coats writes:

What orginally was believed to be a minor injury has turned into a major problem for the St. Louis Rams. Donnie Avery, the team’s No. 1 wide receiver, will be out at least a month with a foot injury he suffered in Friday night’s scrimmage.

Avery experienced discomfort in his left foot when he woke up Saturday morning, but an X-ray showed no fracture. However, an MRI exam taken after Avery sat out Sunday morning’s practice “showed more than we thought,” coach Steve Spagnuolo said. “It’s probably a four-to-six-week injury.” Spagnuolo declined to comment further.

If the injury is something that didn’t show up on x-ray but did on an MRI, the primary suspects would be either plantar fasciaitis (which Albert Pujols has and plays with), or the dreaded “turf toe.”

Turf toe, as illustrated on

Turf toe, as illustrated on

There is another variation of the injury, occuring directly beneath the ankle, which if Avery didn’t feel the pain until the morning after, is probably more likely.

Ed: this visual looks like a weirdly-drawn ankle, until you realize that it’s actually the MPT joint of the big toe. (It’s not normally bent like that.)

Putting the medical terms into football speak, this could have happened if Avery was twisted down while his weight was planted on his front foot. From what I am learning, there are tiny ‘sesamoid bones’ (think miniature kneecaps) beneath the joint where the bones of the big toe meet the bones of the foot. Any dislocation of these bones, and tearing of the associated ligaments, is classified as “turf toe.”

Further worrying terms, from Wikipedia:
The injury can be debilitating for athletes who need to accelerate, quickly change direction, or jump. Use of the toes is not possible during the healing process. Since the toes are necessary for proper push-off when accelerating, those sorts of athletic activities can be almost completely curtailed. A healing period of one or more months is often required.

If you want a silver lining, Mike Sando isn’t as worried as I am.

Based on the descriptions and circumstances of the injury, here is a graphic look at what might have happened:

Caption: Player’s weight is planted on front foot when tackled from the side and brought straight down. Weight remains planted on foot, specifically the MPT joint, through the tackle, creating a twisting pressure.